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Head nurse leadership : perceptions of leaders Fraser, Katherine Theresa Mulligan


This descriptive study was designed to explore the perceptions of leadership among acute care hospital head nurses by using an established leadership framework called the Transformational Leadership Model (Bass, 1985b) to identify and measure leadership styles and outcome factors. Specifically, the study investigated head nurses' perceptions of their leadership from transformational and transactional perspectives, the relationships among leadership styles and between leadership styles and outcome factors, and the relationship between selected demographic and professional characteristics of the head nurse and level of transformational leadership. The study was conducted at four acute care hospitals in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. A purposive sample of 51 head nurses completed a Demographic Information Form and a Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire. Data were analyzed and compared to normative data using descriptive statistics. Pearson’s correlation coefficient and the chi-square test of association were also used to analyze the sample data. Generally, head nurses perceived their leadership as highly transformational and to a lesser degree, transactional. Significant relationships were identified among the leadership styles and between the leadership styles and outcome factors. Compared to other managers, first-line nurse managers were more transformational and employed more Contingent Reward in transactional leadership, and perceived that Satisfaction and Effectiveness levels were higher owing to their leadership. The evidence did not support an association between head nurse characteristics and transformational leadership. Implications for nursing administration, nursing education, and nursing research are presented.

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